Arguments set in February on 2016 N Carolina special session

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Raleigh, N.C. A panel of state judges wants to rule early next year on the legality of a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly and the laws approved during that session that scaled back incoming Gov. Roy Cooper's powers.

The three judges, meeting Friday, scheduled attorney arguments for Feb. 21 over whether the December 2016 special session complied with the state constitution. Superior Court Judge Wayland Sermons said the panel wanted to make their decision later that week.

A trial court judge last summer wouldn't dismiss the lawsuit, which focuses on whether there was proper or enough notice for the session, convened the same day another session on Hurricane Matthew relief ended. Republicans used the session to pass several laws affecting Cooper before he was sworn on New Year's Day.

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